These are the articles I’ve been reading and thinking about this week. Let’s get to it.
The Gaslight District: The Dangerous Precedents Being Set By the Woody Allen Molestation Case (Pajiba)
Honestly, guys, I don’t care if you’re sick of hearing about it, because like this article states, you should be sick over this issue. You should, because it’s disgusting what’s happening. We need to be talking about this, because when we don’t talk about these things, we set the precedents talked about in this article, and we reinforce everything that we allow in a rape culture.
There’s a lot at play here, and there’s a lot to unpack. Biological vs. adoptive parents, victim blaming, the concept of a vindictive mother, etc. All of these things are worth talking about, but by wanting to quickly move on, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and the victims of sexual abuse. This is an accessible article and it tackles all of those things. Read it.
#SochiProblems is More of an Embarrassment for America Than For Russia (PolicyMic)
I’m not watching the Olympics because I literally don’t care and also because I don’t think we should be in Russia. But my best friend sent me a link to a compilation of the best hashtags about the problems in Sochi, and my immediate response was, “This is fascinating because cultural privilege.” And this article, whether you agree with it or not, is worth taking a look at.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone created a novelty Twitter account called @SochiProblems to document all the perceived mishaps that are happening in the city during the Olympics, but it is worth it to take a minute and think about the larger implications of that. It’s malicious glee, and while I’m certainly guilty of feeling that way about certain pop culture events, it’s important to reflect on what that says about me (and the culture at large):
As faves and retweets on @SochiProblems explode, it’s clear that the meme is based on cultural misunderstandings borne out of sheltered ignorance: The posts reflect actual issues that directly impact the quality of life of Russia’s 143 million people…Most Russians don’t drink water from the sink due to fear of illness, and the ones who can’t afford bottled water just boil it and hope they don’t get sick. Only around half of Russians had access to drinking water that met reasonable health standards in 2002, according to Jean Lemierre, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. And the situation is still so bad that Putin himself admittedlast May that even he has dirty water running from his sink.
This article is definitely on the earnest side, but hopefully it also makes people stop and think for a second. The #SochiProblems trend makes me super uncomfortable, and this helps me pinpoint why that is.
J.K. Rowling Did Make a Mistake, But it Wasn’t the Ron-Hermione Pairing (Book Riot)
Apart from sort of wishing that Rowling would stop talking about things that should have happened in her books that are already published in a series that is (probably) complete, I’ve stayed pretty far out of the latest reveal that Rowling thinks Harry and Hermione should have ended up together. Mostly because I DO NOT CARE. But this article is interesting, because it doesn’t really care about that, either. Instead, it tackles one of the biggest issues that even hardcore fans have with Rowling’s books: that epilogue:
I still remember when I turned that final page and saw for the first time that Rowling had added an epilogue to Harry’s last book. It didn’t take more than few sentences for me to develop a sinking feeling in my stomach. What?, I thought, 7 books of plot twists and suddenly everyone marries their high school boyfriend and has adorable moppets who become friends with their high school friends’ similarly aged moppets!??! Even Draco Malfoy is there?
There’s also this:
It also feels like cheating. If you want to decide what happens to your characters, Rowling, you have to actually write it. It’s no fair summarizing all that time in the middle. You have to make it happen.
Whatever, this piece isn’t going to change the world or anything, but she definitely has a point. It’s a fun diversion.
The 15 Most Hated Bands of the Last 30 Years (Salon)
I’m really good at hating things, so there’s no doubt that I’d love a list like this. It’s totally silly and fun, but there’s also a kernel of truth to it. Some highlights:
Nickelback, Creed (aka “Nickelback before there was Nickelback”), Lana Del Rey, etc. etc.
However, not including U2, my MOST HATED BAND PROBABLY EVER, feels like a great oversight. You best believe they’re mentioned in the comments (and not by me, because they ARE THE WORST).
Does Length Matter? (Dear Author)
I include this not only because it’s a thoughtful, well-written piece, but because I think about this all the time. One of J.s jokes about me is that my biggest and most frequent complaint about nearly every movie we watch together is that it’s “too long.” And in my defense, this is mostly true: movies are more bloated than ever before, and there are stats to back it up (you can Google this. I’m too lazy). I’m a firm believer in taking the amount of time you need to tell the story, but I often feel like movies, books, and even TV shows could be tighter in how they do this. So yeah, I believe length matters. Which is why this piece struck a chord with me.
Obviously, this is different for every reader, but there are some good reasons put forth here, and it’s worth a read if you like to read–no matter what the length of the book.
What did you read this week that got you thinking?